May 31, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 4:48 am
I did not go to my church today. I was having computer and printer problems I was trying to fix and it got too late for me to make the first service I usually attend, and then too late to get to the second service too. I had been intending to visit he Apostolic Church across the street for the longest time, since the congregation moved into the old Methodist church building, and someone said that was four years ago. It does not feel that long. Anyway, I decided today I would go there.

I went to Sunday school first. I was not used to three classes, a woman’s, a men’s and a youth class meeting in the sanctuary and it was noisier than I would have liked, but I was able to hear the woman leading the lesson. I had not been in Sunday school since leaving the Baptist church and it was nice to be in one again.

After Sunday school I stayed for the service. I had little experience with Pentecostal churches and none with Apostolic churches except when I heard the pastor preach at tent meetings in the summer at their revival. I used to be skeptical of such emotional goings on, the shouting, waving of arms, dancing in the aisles, speaking in languages that sound like gibberish and our church always warned against excessive emotionalism. I was always curious about it whenever I was around people who worshiped that way tough and I often wondered what they had that I didn’t. They seemed to really be enjoying praising God more than anyone in my church ever did.

There was a big cheer when one lady came into church, so I could tell it had been some time since she had been there and they had been praying for her. In testimony time I found out that she had cancer and had been rushed to the hospital last week. They were going to do an operation on her, but did not think she was going to survive. She refused the operation and when they had done all they could for her and removed life support equipment, she recovered through prayer of hers and others and was well enough to come to church today.

The pastor gave a very inspiring sermon about not limiting God. We measure ourselves by our own standards and make all kinds of excuses for not being able to do what God calls on us to do. But God can do so much more than we let Him. This was a very meaningful subject for me because God had revealed to me many years ago that my life was full of excuses and there were words He did not want me to use anymore.

With that inspiration, the note in the bulletin that said to visitors that they were there because God’s Spirit drew them there and it was not by accident, and the fact that the pastor has a real passion to help the people in the neighborhood and I would like to too, I felt like God is telling me that He wants me to change churches. I can be a lot more useful to Him here, than going out to the East Side, where I feel I don’t really belong because I am not from that community. It was good at first, but even Pastor Zaki says God will move us around when and where He can best use us and bring different people into our lives. I grew a lot in the time I have been at East Side United Methodist, but I think it is time for me to do more than I can there

I already told the pastor at Labor of Love that I think God may be telling me to join them and he assured me that he would be glad to have me and could find work for me to do. He did tell me to pray about it though.


May 30, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 3:39 am
I only wrote in the journal this morning and now I am writing the blog.  I almost did not do it because I have little to tell and I am tired.  The day did not go according to my plan, (which is usually always tentative and subject to change at a moment’s notice (unless there is an event I am committed to such as the writing groups, photograph class and chorus).  I like to leave myself open for spontaneous action.  Today was such a day.
I knew that I wanted to go downtown to see the International film at 2;00 PM.  Today’s movie was from the Netherlands called Dunya and Desie.  I thought I would come home and do a couple of book reviews in the evening.  That was what changed, but I will tell you more about that after I tell you something about the movie.
I got there late and missed at least the first 15 minutes.  The buses were rerouted when they got downtown due to a a Memorial Day Parade on State Street and I believe an event in Grant Park also.  I think I heard the bus driver say something about a Marathon.
Whenever they have to do such reroutes, the traffic becomes so backed up I cannot imagine how we could have ever thought we could handle the Olympics here and am glad that did not happen.  The bus drivers have enough of a hassle trying to tell visitors what bus they need to be taking to get where they want to go without being off of their usual routes and having to explain that to those on the bus or trying to get a bus where it usually does not stop  Anyway, that is what made me late.  I left home early enough for normal conditions.
The movie Dunya and Desie is about two young women living in Amsterdam, one Dutch and the other Muslim from Morocco.  I did not see how they met and became friends, but they did.  Both young women have some family problems and they go against the wishes of their families to remain friends and support each other in their crisis.  It showed how human emotions are identical no matter how different we may be in our cultural traditions.
When I was on the bus on my way home, a friend called.  She wanted to know if I wanted to go to a free buffet and music program in one of the suburbs.  She was not far from where I was, so I said I would meet her at the bus stop.  She picked me up and we went on a long drive.  She took a bad route.  We found out that the event was on Wednesday night,and she did not want to go to another program they were having tonight.  We stopped at a restaurant to eat dinner and she drove me home.  I had just gotten in a few minutes before I started writing this. 

May 29, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 4:59 am
I do not have much to put in the blog today.  I did not write again other than the journal and now this.  No new insights came to me overnight or as I woke up this morning.  I did write down a couple of thoughts that came to me on the bus, but without looking at the notepad, I can’t remember what they were now.
The photograph class met today and the instructor was showing us some of the interesting things we can do with pictures we take after we put them on computers.  She told us about a couple of free sites that let us do that if we don’t have all of the features on programs that came with the cameras.  She also showed what can be done with Photoshop, which is for more professional photographers and too expensive for most of us, but it did look like it would be a fun hobby to get into.
After the class, I had the chorus rehearsal.  It went well.  The director is spending more time going over nuances of timing, change in volume and trying to get us to convey the mood of the music as we sing than just going through the words now.  I wish he spent more time on them, especially the ones we do in foreign languages which I still have difficulty with, but he thinks the chorus sounds well enough.  We are going to start practicing with another musician next week, and it will enable him to do more directing.

May 28, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 4:35 am
I went to bed at somewhere around 12 AM this morning and I woke up at 3 AM with some ideas in my mind that I had to get on paper before I forgot them.  I jotted down enough to remind me what they were and tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t, so I wound up writing a poem about the ideas.  I still could not get back to sleep, so I made my copies of the poem  and the essay I had decided to bring to journal writing, made a cup of coffee, ate a scrambled egg and called my friend and talked to him.  Then I got tired again, so I laid back down for an hour and a half till I had to get ready to go downtown to the writing groups.
It was interesting that yesterday I was thinking I might not even go, because I had nothing new to share, and if you read my account I said I would need to write something soon.  Little did I know it would be that soon!  I also thought of what I wanted to share with the journal writers.  It was not a new essay, but of all of the choices that was the one that came to my mind this morning.  Then I knew I had to go to the meetings.
After the groups ended their meeting I found out that there was going to be a book launch party at the Cultural Center tonight.  I called the phone number on the card I was given by the person at the information desk and asked if I could still come even though I had not made a reservation and they did say to RSVP.  The lady that answered my call said I could and took my name.  This was something I had not planned on doing today.  I asked the lady at the desk about a movie screening the sign said was being held but she did not have information on that and told me about the other event.
As a writer I felt that it was more useful for me to be there to encourage this young (27 year old) Pakistani-American who had just written his first novel, Mea Culpa.  His name is Farhan Noorani and although he was born in Pakistan, his family came here when he was a baby, so he is almost a first generation American.  The book is "a business thriller novel" according to the card and sounds very interesting.  I liked the portion he read and what he shared about how he concentrated on the characters and their interactions with one another that make them who they are.  It sounds like my kind of book.  I did not feel like I could afford to buy it though tonight.
Ravi Baichwal, from channel 7 news MC’d the event and Secretary of State Jesse White was there.  He posed for many pictures and took a number of books he said he will make sure get into libraries because he is head of the state’s libraries, so I will be looking for the book soon.
The card about the party said "complimentary refreshments will be served" (another reason I stayed).  I thought that meant cake and cookies or some light little snack but they put out a complete buffet with Mexican food, fried chicken and traditional Pakistani foods.  I took that because it was new to me.  One bean dish was very hot (spicy) though and i did not finish that.  The rest was good and they had a nice mixed fruit salad, pudding and cookies and then brought out a cake for dessert.  It was a nice evening I was glad I attended and if I had not gone to the writing meetings this morning, I would have missed it..

May 27, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 2:59 am
As I reported earlier, I was reading the book Brooklyn, which was the One Book One Chicago choice. I had gone to hear the author being interviewed at the main library over a month ago. The book is about a young Irish woman coming to America just after the end of World War II. I thought it would give me some insight into what life was like then and what immigrants experienced. There was some of that, but not as much as I had hoped. It is mostly a love story.

The book was due back at the library today, after I had already renewed it. I did not want to renew it again. I had only gotten half way, no not even half way through the book, so I had a lot of reading to do to finish it. I kept wondering if I was really going to get it all read. I was growing impatient with it. I did finish the book and I took it in to a branch library I often use. 

I would not say this novel was very well written, the male author told it from the woman’s point of view, so it was a bit stereotypical. To me it was like watching a B movie. What he did best was convey the Irish accent by the use of the words and placement of them, rather than resorting to distorted spelling. That is what I remembered being taught in school.

I did my journal and this blog, but no other writing again. I know I will have to write something new soon. I can’t keep this up much longer.

May 26, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 3:30 am
I named the blog entry that because that was the title of the essay I shared in the writing group that meets every two weeks.  It was not a new piece of writing.  I did not write anything new to share with them.  The essay was about starting our day with prayer and expecting God to work on our behalf.
As I said, I did not have a new piece of writing, but I did my usual journal entry this morning, and my blog now.
Tonight was the study at church and we read about ways to simplify our lives so we can spend more of our time and energy on doing God’s will, (when we discover what it is for us).
When I got home and went online, I found another writing site,  They are having a writing retreat that sounds like a lot of fun, if I could afford it.  But, I got on the email list for their magazine, which will give me more writing tips and inspiration.

May 25, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 1:51 am
I am going to do this blog entry now, so I don’t end up staying up till 6:00 AM again, even though I dont’t have much to say.  I still did not find the pages I was looking for,, but I found some dialogues I had with God in 2008 and I read some of them.  They were pretty interesting.  I also found notes I had made as I read Joel Olsteen’s book Your Best Life Now.  For anyone who reads this and may not know who he is, he is a big time televangelist and author.  His wife has also written at least one book.  I never thought much of the TV ministers, but the book was getting so much attention, I decided to read it.   I disagreed with things he had to say and that was what ny notes were about.
I typed up a full essay from that and included something that Maria vo Trapp had in an essay she did for This I Believe and I put the essay on Triond.  So, I did do a little more writing today besides the morning journal and this blog.  I did not read like I said I was thinking of doing yesterday, since, as I said,, I did not get to bed,  Tonight, however, I think I will read more of Brooklyn.  It has not kept my attention so far, but msybe ai am not far enough into it.

May 24, 2010

I’t Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 5:36 am
I expected to do this blog entry earlier this evening.  My favorite TV shows have ended their season, so I was not watching TV and I thought I would just spend a little time trying to find a piece of writing, that I did years ago and want to reuse, and then come and do this blog.  Well, as I began to take things out of the large box where I knew I had put some of my writings. I kept finding more and more stuff and putting them on the bed.  Of course I knew I would have to get them off the bed to go to sleep, so I got them grouped up somewhat, (the writings which were my journal entries were the easiest to group) and moved.  I did not find what I was looking for but I found many other interesting bits of writing that were just musings, but can be made into a real essay or article.
I also located a piece that I had been searching for some time ago.  It is one I feel very attached to.  The Lord gave me the inspiration for it at a very difficult time in my life which my faith was being sorely tested.  I wrote it as Simon Peter giving his testimony explaining why he denied Christ.  I had always heard it preached that he was a coward, but God gave me a new understanding into his real motivation, which was what I was experiencing
This was a good day.  The weather finally has warmed up, but a bit too much too soon.  It was up to 90 in parts of the city, but it was sunny and lovely, even with the heat.  I will not complain, unless we get a spell of temperatures that hot for a week or more.  But, it was the Lord’s day too, so how could one not rejoice.  It was Pentecost Sunday and Pastor talked about the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and how He gave the disciples the power to speak in tongues and connected them to Christ and each other.  As He said, that is the only way we can be connected to God by having His power in us.
At 2:30 in the afternoon there was a celebration of the beginning of a new church Pastor and other church leaders have started for youth and children.  They call it g2g meaning generation to generation.  The core group of adults have been working with the youth in several areas, computer classes, boxing, physical fitness, a youth band, art and Latin dance.  The District Director of the United Methodist Church district we are in was there as was the minister responsible for the church planting ministry.  A folkloric dance group performed, The youth band LH2O, (Living Water) played and sang,, a Praise Dance group from another church had a number and the Latin dancers did their dancing.  Of course Pastor shared a short message also.  Next week they are going to have baptisms and renewal of vows at Calumet Beach and a program at a park at 2:30 again.

May 23, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 2:14 am
I am doing this blog entry earlier in the evening than I have been.  I want to do some reading before I go to bed.  I may write a bit too.
I went downtown today to see a German movie, Berlin is in Germany.  It was very well done with really engaging actors.  Of course it was in German with English subtitles.  The film dealt with the changes that took place in Germany after the tearing down of the Berlin wall, and adjustments people had to make to a changed lifestyle.
There was a question and answer session afterward and a young German shared that she was too young to know what was happening at the time, but that they were not even taught about it in school.   She is just now understanding what her family and her friends families went through then.
I know no one likes to remember bad experiences, and, we tend to feel that if we don’t talk about them they will go away.  But, that is not healthy to us, or useful to the next generation.  We should be told about even negative parts of our pasts, because as the saying goes "those who do not know they past are doomed to repeat it."  That may not be the exact words, but it is the right idea.

May 22, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 3:29 am
While doing my journal this morning, I came up with some more writing ideas and I got some more while on the bus heading downtown.  I went to the photography class and learned a little bit more about what I can do with some features of my camera that I have not used yet.  Our homework is to just take pictures and try out various settings and features of our cameras.  Some of the people in the class had just gotten cameras and knew nothing about them.  Others, like myself, have had them for quite awhile, but still do not know all of the things we can do with them.  I have to find out more about the manual settings  There are features there that I didn’t know were on the camera, let alone how to use them.  Oh, I have looked at the manual, but it does not explain things very well, and I have been satisfied using the automatic settings.  I just found out today, that, I can make a picture in black and white.  
Besides the photography class, there was our chorus rehearsal.  Tim has finally stopped adding to our program and we are not going over the most difficult parts of the hardest songs.  We spent most of our time on one song today.  Besides just getting us on key, Tim likes to have expression in the songs, by varying the tempos and volume.  Those are details he spends a lot of time going over with us.  That’s what makes him a good director.
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